Pyrénées-Atlantiques

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Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Gascon: Pirenèus-Atlantics; Basque: Pirinio-Atlantiarrak or Pirinio-Atlantikoak) is a department in the southwest of France which takes its name from the Pyrenees mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

History

Basses-Pyrénées is one of the original 83 departments of France created during the French Revolution, on March 4, 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Guyenne, Béarn, and Gascony and included the three traditional provinces of the northern Basque Country: Labourd, Soule and Basse-Navarre. It also included two tiny exclaves of Bigorre which were located within Béarn.

The previous history of the region, under the Ancien Régime, can be found at those individual articles.

On October 10, 1969, Basses-Pyrénées was renamed Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Geography

Pyrénées-Atlantiques is part of the Aquitaine region of Southwest France. It is bordered by the Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées , Gers departments and the Bay of Biscay (mar Cantabrico in spanish, golfe de Gascogne in french) .

Principal settlements include Pau, Biarritz, Bayonne, Anglet, Urrugne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

Lac Gentau is located here.

Economy

Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a border province, has cultivated a number of economic and cultural links with Spain.

Two urban concentrations exist in the east and west of the département: Pau, which has 145,000 inhabitants, and 344,000 workers in the local area; and Bayonne - Anglet - Biarritz which has 166,400 inhabitants and 235 000 workers in the local area

Culture

The parts of the department that were part of Guyenne and Béarn have a culture heavily influenced by the Basque people.

Both the Gascon and Basque langues are indigenous to the region. Gascon is a dialect of Occitan, formerly the main language of southern France. It is more closely related to Catalan than it is to French. Basque is a language isolate, not related to any known language. Today, French, the sole official language of the French Republic, is the predominant native language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants.

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